PITTSBURGH TECHNICAL COLLEGE EARNS NATIONAL CYBER DEFENSE ACCREDITATION
Pittsburgh Technical College First Two-Year College in Western PA to Achieve NSA and DHS Recognition
PITTSBURGH—June 17, 2020 – The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have formally announced Pittsburgh Technical College (PTC) as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE), the first primarily two-year college in Western Pennsylvania to earn this designation. This prestigious designation indicates that PTC’s Information Systems and Technology (IST) degree programs are validated by the highest security agencies in the nation. Currently less than seven percent of all U.S. degree-granting post-secondary institutions have earned this designation. This distinction has been given to both concentrations for the Associate in Science in Information Technology – Network Administration and Associate in Science in Information Technology – Network Security and Computer Forensics.
“While graduates from PTC’s Information Technology programs have continuously been sought after by our industry employer partners as a result of the reputation of the program and the school as a whole, obtaining CAE- CD (Cyber Defense) accreditation will draw the attention of an even broader employer base and validates the high standard of education our students are exposed to,” stated Dr. John Scarpino, Academic Chair for PTC’s School of Information Systems and Technology. “Not only do our graduates have the philosophical knowledge required for successful careers in cybersecurity, they also possess the technical security know-how expected of today’s professionals. They are eager to make a difference in an area that affects every U.S. citizen when it comes to information security issues and threats.”
“Pittsburgh Technical College is committed to setting a higher standard in education for all programs that we offer. Obtaining such high recognition at a national level not only validates what we do every day, but also puts a spotlight on our student-centered culture, our efforts to align workforce demand and curriculum focus, and our commitment to career success,” added PTC’s president and CEO, Dr. Alicia B. Harvey-Smith.
Identifying that CAE-CDE accreditation will eventually be a requirement of schools teaching cybersecurity, Dr. Scarpino’s team embarked on the application process in November 2018, exposing the faculty, curriculum, and educational environment to a stringent examination. Included in this examination was developing PTC’s Jarrod T. Mochnick Center for Cybersecurity, which was unveiled and dedicated in October 2019 under the leadership of Dr. Harvey-Smith and supported by Pittsburgh-based Aires Corporation. Per NSA.gov, “The goal of the program is to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense and producing professionals with cyber defense expertise.”
Graduates of both of PTC’s associate degree concentrations complete the required courses to achieve CAE-CDE designation. The college also offers a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems and Technology with four concentrations. Currently, government agencies are only recruiting employees from colleges with the designation and this is expected to become a standard expectation for all security employers in the near future.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states, “Employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 32 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for information security analysts is expected to be very high, as these analysts will be needed to create innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or causing problems for computer networks.”
PTC shares National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education designation with three other Pittsburgh-area accredited academic institutions: Carnegie Mellon University, Robert Morris University, and the University of Pittsburgh. Only nine other Pennsylvania colleges have obtained the designation.
With more than 30 associate, bachelor’s, and certificate programs, Pittsburgh Technical College provides education that prepares students for career success. PTC has been part of the region’s education community for over 70 years.